Main Sail Reefing
Advice on fitting and suggestions for the use of (to accompany the drawings provided, bearing in mind the exact locations depends on your particular boat and where YOU think the bits are best situated for the way you sail.)
Fitting the hardware to:
1. The Mast
- Eye Mount: (Fig.1) This is pop rivited to the mast adjacent to the top of the boom. It is the guide for the line (effectively like a Cunningham) to pull the first eye of the reefing points down CLOSE to the mast. It is important to get it as close to the mast as possible as the correct positioning of the first eye governs the sail shape and the forces in this part of the sail. It must be as. So to get the right position, set up the line with the hook in the first reefing eye and mark the mast where the Eye Mount gives you the right direction of pull to achieve this.
- The Cleat is fixed to the mast in a convenient location below the eye mount.
2. The End of the Boom: (Fig. 2)
- The arrangement suggested avoids fixing cheek blocks to the boom for two reasons,
- It avoids drilling more holes in the boom,
- Once cheek blocks are fix to the boom, no adjustment is possible if you find that they are in wrong position and the sail shape is incorrect.
- Boom Sliders: These are slipped into the slot that runs along the under side of the boom. To get them into this slot you will first have to remove the boom end plate and then secure it again with appropriate rivets.
3. Mounting the reefing line Cleats on the Boom
- Position these where they will be most convenient for you. From the point of view of safety, it is bad enough being hit on the head by the boom but adding a cleat to the impact is not a good idea. So a convenient and safe place to have these cleats is quite close to the mast, which is ideal when sailing with a crew, but even sailing solo, this is the place you need to be to carry out the rest of the reefing procedure.
Rigging the Lines
On the mast
- The suggestion here is to have a permanent line. Extra purchase by means of a block is possible but not really necessary as sufficient tension can be gained using the main halyard and the new down haul we are now rigging.
On the boom
- Position the boom sliders to begin with approximately 12" & 18" from the boom end. The final position of these will be determined later.
Rig the bottom set of reefing eyes first
- Using the shorter of the two lines, the blue one, tie a running knot through the boom slider, so that the short end has about 9" on one side of the boom and the long length is on the other. Secure the block supplied to the short end with a bowline knot such that the block is at the end of about a 4 to 5" tail. Run the long end of the line up to the reefing eye at the leech, through it and then back down to the block you have just rigged. From here take the line forward along the boom to the cleat you mounted on the boom near the mast.
Rig the second set of reefing eyes.
- Carry out the same procedure described above using the longer red line provided. Whether you have the blocks on the same side of the boom or have one either side is up to you, I quite like them both on the same side.
On the Sail
Rigging the Shock Cord
- You will find two lengths, naturally, the longer one is for the lower set of reefing eyes. This system of reefing has shock cord on just one side of the sail. When rigged, the shock cord should not be under tension otherwise it will distort the sail. So tie one of the large End Stoppers onto the shock cord and run the cord through the first eye beside the mast. Thread it through the next eye and fit a white hook as shown in the drawing. Pass the cord back through the same eye and take it to the next eye and do the same again until you put another End Stopper on at the Leech to finish things off. See drawing.
- The idea behind rigging the shock cord in this way is so that you know where the hooks are even though you cannot see them as they will be on the other side of the sail. They will be behind the reefing eyes so there should be no fumbling trying to find them.
Procedure of Operation (the order of play)
- Place the stainless steel hook in the first eye by the mast
- Slacken off the Kicker so the boom can lift up
- For the First Reef: Pull the Red Reefing Line the result of which will be that the end of the boom will rise up to the eye at the leach. If it does, give yourself a pat on the back.
- Lower the Main halyard until the boom is horizontal again and now mark the halyard so that you know where this point is for future reference.
- Draw the line on the mast down tight and cleat off so that the first eye is now close by the mast and the boom.
- Hoist the Main sail again so the halyard is tight, adjust the luff down haul to ensure the first eye is close as possible to the mast and boom and you now have a reefed main sail. All that is required now is to tidy up.
- Put your hand under the boom taking the hook, which you know is the other side of the reefing eyes, bring the hook under the boom and clip onto the shock cord. Tuck the loose sail under the shock cord.
- You must now pull through the reefing line of the Second Reef, as this will now be slack.
- Lastly, tighten the kicker again.
- As above
- As above
- For the Second Reef: Pull the Reefing Line the result of which will be that the end of the boom will rise up to the eye at the leach again. If it does, give yourself another pat on the back, you're obviously getting the hang of it!
- Lower the Main halyard until the boom is horizontal again and now mark the halyard with a different colour so that you know where this point is for future reference.
- As above
- As above
- As above
- Lastly, tighten the kicker again.
Having reefed the Main Sail now, look at the SAIL SHAPE. Is it GOOD? If not there are two adjustments you can make. This adjustment should be carried out before you go on the water.
- Move the Boom Slider
- Shorten or lengthen the piece of line holding the block, as in Rig the bottom set of reefing eyes first above.
While you are reefing the Main Sail what do you do with the Genoa? There are two possibilities
- Furl it completely, or
- Furl it partially so you can maintain a small amount of forward speed and therefore steerage, which is preferable.
When you have the Main nicely reefed now is the time to adjust the size of the Genoa to balance the Main and give a small amount of weather helm.
After the Second Reef is put in, again, the genoa has to be reef more to give balance but now it is so easy without the need to change the foresail!
Perhaps the most important thing to bear in mind, once you have organised all this, is to PRACTICE reefing in normal conditions so that when you need to reef in earnest it's not all a big surprise! Carried out in the right order this is a simple procedure allowing you to have the confidence to reef when the need arises rather than hoping you will not have to do it because you are unsure of how to. PRACTICE.
Points to be aware of:
- How and where the Leach Reefing line run along the boom.
- Take hooks between boom and Main Sheet so that it is not trapped and thus not allowed to run freely.
- Remember that one of the beauties of this design is that the adjustment of the boom slides is there to allow you to end up with the correct sail shape.
- The first white plastic hooks, nearest to the mast, can catch the side stays if they point straight out away from the sail. This can be avoided by making sure the hooks lie so they hang down with the open part of the hook against the sail.